The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), with technical support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), held a workshop under the title ‘Accountable Administration and Businesses’ in Bago yesterday.
Importance of anti-corruption measures
Chief Minister of Bago Region, U Win Thein, delivered a speech at the workshop. He said that in striving for good governance, everyone needs to make changes to become a government administration that has the full trust of the people. He said it is important to be free of corruption and bribery so that a clean government will emerge. He said it is important to adhere to the laid down rules and regulations with goodwill to dispel the four evils of corruption. He also mentioned it is important to maintain the ethics and integrity of our relevant departments. He said corruption in the modern world is linked to other crimes and is no longer limited to one country or region, but has become an international concern.
We must seize opportunity to combat corruption
Next, ACC Chairman U Aung Kyi delivered a speech. He said it is a rare opportunity for the entire country and its citizens that the ACC is capable of effectively eradicating corruption in accord with the guidelines set by the President. He said decades of corruption have greatly eroded the country’s economy, administrative, political and social sectors. Corruption destroys integrity and the integrity of the public who have lived through the decades of corruption is greatly damaged, said U Aung Kyi. He said he hopes the anti-corruption movements headed by ACC does not threaten anyone as this is opportunity to elevate the integrity of the nation, its people, and all its relevant sectors, should not be wasted.
U Aung Kyi said combating corruption instils honesty, accountability, transparency, fairness and inclusiveness within the hearts of all citizens, and these are the basic elements of a democratic administration system and a free and developed livelihood.
The ACC works solely to eradicate corruption
Bribery, nepotism, embezzlement, theft, fraud, grafting, extortion, blackmail, influence peddling, abuse of discretion, favoritism, misuse of authority, are just some of the many forms of corruption the ACC is attempting to eradicate, said U Aung Kyi. He said the ACC’s actions are done for the purpose of strengthening rightful discipline in accord with a democratic administration system, and are not targeted towards any particular individual or organization.
The World Bank, who works closely with government agencies and public-oriented organizations, defines corruption as: “Corruption is commonly defined as the abuse of public or corporate office for private gain.” He said individuals who have received their authority from institutions set up with public motivation, participation, and tax payments, are obliged to perform their duties for benefit of the people. He said anyone who misuses their authority and position to further the interests of themselves and their superiors may both be convicted of corruption. He said those atop the hierarchy must not only be free of corruption themselves but are required to guide their subordinates to be free from corruption too. He said this is called accountability in administration.
Corruption concerns everyone, not just government
Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption coalition, defines corruption as ‘the abuse of entrusted power for private gain’. This encompasses businesses, humanitarian work, education institutions, civil society, inheritance, marriage, scholarships, promotions and assignments, and elections. It is important to note, said U Aung Kyi, that corruption is not limited to governments and their related organizations. It extends to private entities, businesses, and civil society, and no one is exempt from the Anti-Corruption Law. He said the best way to combat corruption is to set up rules and guidelines to stymie it. U Aung Kyi said they have issued a reference framework for businesses to develop anti-corruption guidelines in Notification No. 14/2018. He said this is a foundation to enable businesses to upgrade to international ISO 37001 in the future. He said the ACC hopes to see a decrease in corruption towards the end of 2019 if the role of accountability in business and other administrative positions is elevated. He said they have received approval from the Office of the President for their action plans for 2019 in implementing the Strategic Plan against Corruption (2018-2021).
Cause of corruption in Myanmar
ACC Chairman U Aung Kyi said the systematic corruption in Myanmar has at least three aspects to it: (1) there are corrupt officials in government and public organizations, (2) the people are engaging in bribery because there is no other alternative and it has become the norm, (3) those in authority have not been as accountable as they should have been in addressing issues of corruption. This being the case, institutional leaders first need to exercise their authority in combating corruption, said U Aung Kyi. He said they must then accurately calculate the cost of corruption.
U Aung Kyi said corruption should not be measured by the sum of money involved, but rather by the scale of impact and losses it brought upon the nation and the people. He urged all institutional leaders to seize any opportunities to eliminate corruption and take full accountability in line with the Union government’s strong political spirit.
Next on the agenda
Next, Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet gave a presentation under the topic of mutual accountability, covering anti-corruption measures, setting interrelated policies for anti-corruption among government, private and humanitarian organizations, and designing regional action plans.
The ACC Chairman and Bago Region Chief Minister then took a documentary photograph together with the attendees.
The workshop then commenced with ACC member U Aung Than Myint discussing under the topic ‘Anti-corruption efforts of the Commission’, Bago Region minister for planning and finance U Nyunt Shwe and Dr. Tin Maung Than (Tint Ba Wa) on ‘An accountable administrative sector’, Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization Director-General U Aung Soe on ‘Accountable administration for businesses’, a representative from Media Press Council on ‘Accountable media sector’, a representative from UMFCCI and one from MCRB on ‘Accountable business sector’, a local entrepreneur on ‘Accountable entrepreneurship’, and a representative from a civil service organization on ‘Accountable CSO sector’. The afternoon part of the workshop held a Q&A session. The regional Chief Minister then evaluated the results of the discussions. Attending the workshop were ACC members, heads of departments from Bago Region and UNDP, CSOs, entrepreneurs, and members of the media.
—MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)